We’ve been forced to shop online a lot this year and clothing is no exception. If you’re ready to start buying more things on the web versus in stores, these online shopping tips should help you score great finds at great prices!
I had another post planned for today but thought since it is Cyber Monday, I thought I’d share some tips on shopping online instead! I was going to try to round up some good deals for the day, but honestly, it’s a lot of work and there are plenty of people sharing those things today, so, you’re welcome. :)
Before I jump to my shopping tips, I do want to say thank you for supporting my site by shopping through my links. (You can read more about the business side of things here.) When you do shop through one of my links I sometimes earn a commission from that sale which lets me pay for things like my website maintenance. It’s very much appreciated! (And on that note, make sure to check out my gift guide here AND over on Splendry! THANK YOU! :)
OK, now on to online shopping tips!
8 Online Shopping Tips
1. Read size charts
You know how you try on things in store and you wind up needing four different sizes among items? It’s no different online, but reading their store/item size charts should help. When you click on an item and they ask you to choose a size there is a often a size chart or a link to a size chart that you can check out. These will have usually actual body measurements to go off of and you can choose the right size in that particular item.
You’ll definitely want to make sure you check that out, I especially find it helpful when buying pants/jeans online. Waist and hip measurements can vary so much when it comes to clothing size. This also helps you see how weird the sizing system is in general!
2. Read reviews
Another thing to check out when you click on an item from a store’s website is if they list reviews. A lot of bigger stores do, like Amazon or Nordstrom and they can be really helpful when making sizing or purchasing decisions. Often you can tell right away if an item fits “true to size”, meaning it fits as the size chart says it will, or if the quality of an item is just sub-par. Sometimes reviewers will leave their actual measurements/clothing size along with a photo of them in the particular item so you can get more of a feel for how it will look. So helpful!
3. Check the materials
Looking for a soft cozy sweater, or the silky pajamas of your dreams? Make sure you figure out what material your clothing-of-interest is made from. While it can be hard to know what exactly a 70% cotton/30% polyester blend will feel like, you’ll at least be able to determine things like wool, gabardine, silk, or spandex (which will give the item some stretch). Don’t recognize the materials listed? Try a quick Google search.
4. Check shipping fee
Found a fabulous buy online? Before you hit order, make sure the shipping fee isn’t outrageous. There have been times I’ve found some beautiful items, only to realize I’m on a website for a store based out of Europe and to ship the items to me cost as much as the items themselves! The best finds are of course those with free shipping and this time of year is great for scoring that as a lot of websites will use it as incentive. Here’s a little tip too, try Googling “website name free shipping” and see if you can find a code to use online. It doesn’t always work but it’s worth a try!
5. What’s the return policy?
Once you’ve found that hopefully-perfect item, you still want a little protection on your purchase. Read the store’s return policy to see how easy (or difficult) it will be to return something if it doesn’t work. Places like Target or Nordstrom have excellent return policies and make it so easy to get your money back. It’s not uncommon for smaller stores or boutiques to offer a return for store credit only (no refunds), so make sure you read the fine print before you buy! (Regarding that policy, I will say that way back when I worked in retail I learned that if you buy something on a credit card, a store *has* to refund your money if you need to return an item that is unacceptable. It’s part of your card protection or something like that. I don’t know if that’s still the case everywhere but it’s worth looking into.)
6. Give them your email
I know, I know, the last thing you want is more emails from stores BUT, hear me out. Often a store will offer you a discount for joining their mailing list (usually somewhere between 10-20% off) and I almost always do this (unless I already have a better discount code!). Here’s the way to do it without your email being overrun:
**Sign up for a free email account that you use only for store emails.**
Lots of services offer free email accounts – like Gmail, and you can quickly create an account and use that new email address to get your discount. You can either keep using the email account for store signups and promos or delete it or just never check it again, it’s all up to you!
7. Is there a promo code?
Just like checking for free shipping codes, I like to do a “website name promo code” or “website name coupon code” search before I check out. I don’t do this on sites like Amazon or Target, as they have their discounts available to see, but for other stores like ModCloth, Lulus, ASOS, etc., I’ve sometimes scored some good deals! Look for places like RetailMeNot.com for valid codes.
If you’re buying something like a subscription box do a search for a review. Oftentimes someone will share a coupon code within their review or if you use their link you’ll automatically get a credit. It’s worth your time!
I know there are services like Honey that you download to your computer to search for codes for you, but I can’t speak to that as I haven’t tried them, might be something to check out though!
8. Can you wait to purchase?
This isn’t the case for every retailer, but sometimes if you leave an item in your cart the store will email you after a day or two to offer a discount if you buy. Other places like Target or Amazon might email you to let you know if an item you were checking out went on sale. Obviously they’ll need to have your contact info, so use the free email account idea to create an account. If you’re not on a time crunch, it might be worth waiting to buy!
I hope these eight tips help you out this shopping season! Let me know if you find any great deals!